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Columbus police officer retires amid ghost employment charges

Posted at 9:26 AM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 09:30:42-05

COLUMBUS — A current Columbus Police Department officer charged with ghost employment and theft has opted to retire from the agency.

A special prosecutor charged Dan Meister last month following an Indiana State Police investigation into theft allegations.

Meister retired from Columbus police effective Sunday, according to Lt. Matt Harris.

“Columbus Chief of Police, Michael Richardson, was prepared to go before the Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety this week to seek Meister’s suspension without pay when Meister announced his decision to retire,” according to the Columbus Police Department.

Meister had previously been working in a non-law enforcement role within the police department since the investigation began in late 2018, said Harris.

RTV6 is asking the agency what this means for Meister’s retirement benefits since he was allowed to retire rather than face suspension without pay.

Former Columbus police officer Ronald May is also charged with official misconduct, ghost employment, and theft.

Columbus Police launched an internal investigation after the agency received a complaint.

Following an internal investigation at Columbus police, officer May announced he would retire.

As Call 6 Investigates reported last year, Indiana State Police was investigating allegations of ghost employment and official misconduct within the Columbus Police Department.

The officers are accused of working secondary jobs as security officers at Columbus Regional Hospital while they were on duty for Columbus police.

“The investigation indicated that between February 2015 and August 2018, Meister and May allegedly worked overlapping shifts for both Columbus Police Department and Columbus Regional Hospital,” according to Indiana State Police. “Both officers were paid by CPD, and CRH for the same hours worked on numerous occasions. Investigators found that Meister had overlapped hours worked on 52 separate occasions. May was found to have overlapped hours worked on 62 separate occasions.”

Columbus Regional Hospital spokeswoman Kelsey DeClue confirmed to RTV6 that officers Ron May and Dan Meister were dismissed from their independent contractor jobs at the hospital on Nov. 30, 2018, one day after Columbus police contacted ISP on to investigate a criminal complaint.

DeClue said they fully cooperated with the investigation.

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